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NTSB Will Outline Tire Safety in Special Report

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is issuing a special report on passenger tire safety on Oct. 27.

The report is a followup to the December 2014 Tire Safety Symposium which the NTSB hosted. A NTSB spokesman says the report will include information gathered at last year’s symposium, “as well as a number of accidents involving tire failures that we have investigated.”

The NTSB will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 27 to consider the report, known officially as “Special Investigation Report: Selected Issues in Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety and Safety Alert — Drivers: Manage Tire Risks for a Safer Ride.”

The meeting is open to the public, and is available for live viewing online. The webcast also will be archived and available online for three months. Go to www.ntsb.gov and look for a link under the “News and Events” tab. A link to the webcast will be available at http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/ shortly before the start of the meeting.

Dan Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), says the the NTSB has indicated its report will touch on each of the issues covered in the six panel discussions from the two-day symposium.

"We would suspect they'll have something to say about each of the panels," Zielinksi says.

With that as a guide, here's a refresher on those six panel topics:

  • Tire disablement and vehicle dynamics
  • Identifying and analyzing tire disablement-related crashes
  • Tire registration and recall
  • Tire aging and service life
  • Advances in tire technology
  • Tire maintenance and consumer awareness

It was during the NTSB symposium last year that the latest debate on tire registration fired up, with the RMA proposing legislation to regulate registration. The RMA proposed a government mandate that tire dealers register tires at the point of sale for consumers. The Tire Industry Association (TIA) countered that all parties need to work to better educate consumers on the importance of registration.

Since then, tire registration has moved its way through the legislative process. It was included in a long-term federal highway bill passed by the U.S. Senate in July. The U.S. House didn’t approve that same bill before its summer recess, and the House is still in the process of considering highway funding legislation. So far, the bill under consideration from the House doesn’t contain mandatory tire registration, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still pop up.

Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA, says TIA wants lawmakers to wait and see what comes out of the NTSB’s report.

Whether Congress follows that advice or not, the existing highway bill has a long way to go, including reviews by the Commerce and Ways and Means committees. Already 150 amendments have been offered, “but none on tire registration.”

“We’re a long way from over on that,” Littlefield says.

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